Amazing Grace Literature Guide
Grace loves stories and has a gift for telling and acting them out. She wants the part of Peter Pan in the school play. Someone tells her she can't be Peter Pan because she's a girl. Someone else says she can't be Peter Pan because she is Black. Grace's mother and Nana tell her she can do anything she sets her mind to. When we have the support of our families, it can give us courage to do things other people think we can't. This book shows the grace of children to let down barriers that may seem to be in the way. We learn from Grace to persevere and not let false ideas about gender and race stop our dreams.
ASK: What is the best thing about families? What do families do for each other?
SHOW: Look at the covers and pictures on the title page. Talk about what you can tell about Grace's personality from these pictures.
CONNECT: Can you think of a time that you wanted to try something new and someone told you “you can't do that”? How did that make you feel and how did you respond? Did you give up or try harder to prove them wrong? We’re going to read a story about a girl who didn’t let those words stop her from trying.
ASK: How do you think Grace felt about being told she couldn’t be Peter Pan? How can you tell? What did her family say to help her keep trying?
SHOW: Look at the pictures and list the different characters Grace plays when acting out her fantasies. What does she do to become the character? Can a young person play an old person and a child play a doctor or a pirate? Why do you think someone might think it isn't okay for a Black girl to play Peter Pan? Is that a good reason? Why or why not?
CONNECT: In the Broadway musical Hamilton, actors of diverse races play many of the 1776 white Founding Father characters. This helped many theater goers to see our Founding Fathers as vibrant activists of their time. It also helped people talk openly about race, the damage of prejudice, and our different contributions to history.
ASK: Does Grace help you believe “You can be anything you want if you put your mind to it"? Tell about a time you put your mind to something. How did it feel??
SHOW: Look at pictures throughout the book. Find examples of Grace’s family and classmates loving and supporting her. What will you do to encourage someone else to follow their dreams?
CONNECT: How did Grace work toward becoming Peter Pan? What did she focus on that mattered? What didn't matter that she could let go? Think about what you would like to be or do. How can you work toward it? What should you not spend time on?
- Draw a picture of your family and label the picture with names. Talk about who is in your family and how they are alike and different. Talk about the best things about your family? What do families do for each other? How do families support each other?
- Look up the meanings of the word grace in the dictionary. What meanings fit this story? How can you use the word grace? Talking about the meanings of words is a fun family activity.
- Make a simple puppet stage and act out a familiar story such as a fairy tale. Work together as a family to gather the supplies and practice the story.
Prop up couch cushions and use blankets to hide behind.
Put two chairs together and drape a blanket over the seats. Hide behind the blanket and use the seats as the stage.
Cut a large rectangle-shaped hole in a large box. Put the puppets through the hole.
Small stuffed animals
- Make up/Act out stories about people or animals who have been told they couldn’t do something, but they work hard and believe in themselves and do it! Talk as a family about who the characters are, the problem, and the solution.
- Use dress-up clothes to make a costume of a favorite character—use some of Grace’s characters for ideas.
- Have a family meeting to discuss supporting and encouraging each other. Talk about ways to say “good job” and “I know you can do it.” Have each person make a plan to try something new and difficult this month. Listen to each others’ ideas and make a plan for supporting and encouraging each other.
- Talk openly about race, skin color, culture, and equity. Be honest and respectful, and find out answers together when you don't know something.
- Think of one amazing thing about each member of your family. Draw a picture for each person and copy and finish this sentence on each page: The amazing thing about _________ is ________________________________________. Give the finished pictures and sentences to your family members. (As an alternative, put your own family event/tradition in place of a name. Examples: The amazing thing about our family is… The amazing thing about our holiday celebration is… The amazing thing about our vacation was…)